Common Mistakes Writers Make by Eva Marie Everson
Many times I have been asked, “Will you look at my manuscript and give me your opinion?” Or, “Will you look at my manuscript and edit it?” I did that for a while, at no cost. Until the day I realized I spent more time editing other people’s work for free than I did writing my own, which was my bread and butter.
And with that, the editing arm of my company grew fingers.
I find editing issues in nearly every manuscript, especially those of new writers. I made the same mistakes early on. After discussing the situation with a few of my conference director friends, I decided the time had come to offer Common Mistakes Writers Make as a conference workshop. And so I did.
After one of those conferences, an editor wisely asked, “Have you thought about putting this workshop into the form of a book?”
I had not until that moment. (Insert smile here.)
What you are about to read is not rocket science. These pages are not filled with English Grammar 101 lessons (although one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer is to find an old seventh grade English grammar textbook, read it, and complete the exercises).
I don’t claim to be the final authority on all the issues, but I know what I know. This book is but a small collection of editing mistakes I often find in the work that comes across my desk (and sometimes by my own hand). It shouldn’t take long for you to read it, but when you reach the end of it, I hope you ll have had some aha moments. I’m writing conversationally, by the way, because I pretend I am speaking directly to you as I write, my friend. I’m basically telling you what I think I know.
If you’d like, you can let me know what you think (that is, if you are nice about it) by going to my website EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com and selecting the contact tab.
Writing in Obedience – A Primer for Christian Fiction Writers by Terry Burns and Linda W. Yezak
This book is for the new Christian writer or the writer looking to decide how God wants them to incorporate their faith into their writing. How do we know what the Lord wants us to do? Are we being called to write or do we want to write for Him as an offering? What is required of the author using their writing for the Lord and how do they go about it? What do we really want to achieve with our writing, and how do we define success?
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide
Learn how best-selling authors proofread their manuscripts to avoid typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling.
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, by professional freelance author, editor, and proofreader Kathy Ide, is the essential go-to tool for aspiring and experienced writers and editors. This book includes all of the material from Ide’s popular Polishing the PUGS book (now out of print), with added PUGS guidelines and helpful tips from multi-published authors on how to catch typos and other common mistakes.
In Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, Kathy Ide identifies the industry-standard references for books, magazines, and newspapers (which are different from the guidelines for other types of writing, such as college term papers). Using these official references, she highlights the most common mistakes writers make in the areas of punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling (for which she uses the acronym PUGS). She also includes guidelines from The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style for authors and editors who work in the inspirational market.
Murder of a Manuscript: Writing and Editing Tips to Keep Your Book Out of the Editorial Graveyard by Andrea Merrell
Few things are more heartbreaking for a writer than giving birth to a manuscript and handing it over to an agent, editor, or publisher—only to see it killed in its infancy. How do you prevent your prodigy from taking a bullet to the heart? By learning the basics and making sure your manuscripts are as clean and professional as possible.
Whether you’re a new writer or a seasoned author, the ability to edit and proofread your own material is crucial. Along with recognizing common errors, a writer should know the lingo of the writing and publishing industry, and have a good grasp of plotting, POV, crafting dialog, and so much more. Murder of a Manuscript will test your knowledge and give you the tools to polish your prose so the epitaph won’t read: Here lie the remains of my first book. It never had a chance to show the world how wonderful it could have been.
The ABC List of Feature Ideas Paperback by Michael Ray Smith
By now, you have tried your hand at writing either as a blogger or a freelance writer or someone who is writing for free just to have the opportunity to earn a byline. You have desire and some natural talent and all you need is encouragement and instruction. As you seek out a mentor or a writing group, consider reading all that you can on writing well. This short guide will help you think through some standard articles that publishers, particularly magazines, would consider if you can provide a novel angle. This beginner’s guide will walk you through some crucial ethical considerations, a formula for writing that works and specific ideas that will give your article flair.
Packed with solid advice, interesting examples and useful exercises. Particularly valuable is the huge list of story ideas .. sure to spark an idea in any creative mind. ~ Doug Trouten, journalism professor, Northwestern College, and FORMER director of a 400-magazine association.
Learning one skill will improve everything you write. Ready? Here it is: Write like you talk That’s it? Yes, that’s it. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s a skill and like any skill, it can be learned and with some practice, you can master it. What’s in it for me, you ask? First, writing will be easier, less of a chore. Instead of fighting the page, you will sound like you. You might even find you really like to write. Who knows. You might have a story inside you that other people really need to read. Topics include tips on: Voice Character Plot Structure Dialog Conflict Sensory Elements Setting Beginnings Endings
The fisherman may sit in his boat and contemplate bait—night crawlers or a lure? Maybe something fancier? What he never considers, however, is throwing a line in without a hook. He never thinks, “My cord is so well made, so strong and beautiful, what fish wouldn’t want to wrap itself up in it and jump into my boat?” But countless writers do just that when they ignore the first sentence. For many, it’s just sentence one to move them to sentence two—a means to an end, rather than bait. What they don’t realize is that the first line’s purpose is to compel the reader forward, to push them to the second, to create a sense of urgency to read on. For the writers who ignore this, there is no literary seduction in their fiction. There is only the story, which may or may not be read fully. Likely, the reader may not even make it to the second line.
Maybe you struggle with the first line, and that’s okay. To a large extent, we all do. It’s hard to find a line that’s going to entice readers and propel them onward with eager anticipation. But crafting a stellar first line doesn’t need to be confounding. A fisherman has many types of bait. A writer has many ways to open their fiction—character, setting, voice. More often than not, the best bait is the unexpected, the question-proposing line that skims across the surface of the water to attract impatient readers slogging through the river. The first line has become organic and has breathed, and the reader can smell its breath. These are the lines that live in our memories—the stuff literary dreams are made of.
You can use this book in any way you see fit. Nothing says you have to read it straight-through even. Feel free to skip around, browse each section, work on whatever you feel you need to develop. But the ideal reader of this book (at least in my mind) is going to have pen and paper handy, or at least be near their computer, so they can scrawl out a few lines as they go through each section. Bottom line—first lines take practice, and like any artists, we’ve got to write some real stinkers before we find the right one. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get cracking.
1. The Case For The First Line
2. Get A Load Of These: The 100 Best Lines In Novels
3. Size Matters: Novels V. Short Stories
4. But You Should See The Other Guy: Conflict
5. A Duck Walks Into A Pharmacy: Character
6. Beg Your Pardon? The Unexpected First Line
7. Making The Stage: Setting And Tone
8. Jello To The Wall: Nailing Voice
9. What You Do When You Say It: Dialogue And Action
10. The Sampler Platter: Compound-complexes And Run-ons
Have you ever wished you could write a devotion but didn’t know how? Do you feel as though God is calling you to a writing ministry but you’re not sure how to begin?
“When you write for God, and you really mean it… your work may never show up on the shelves at Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant…you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this…live with it…grasp it…then you can write for God as a ministry.” – Alton Gansky
In Turning Personal Experiences into Parables, you will learn how to write devotions for church newsletters, periodicals, websites and books. A devotional ministry can complement the advancement of a building campaign, mission work and church projects. Learn how to draw readers in with the “Hook, Book, Look, Took” method: a time-tested technique used by best-selling authors. See how to “Write From Your Wound to Their Pain,” craft stories with the authority, speak as a prophet of God, discover your writing ministry, learn the six key secrets every successful writer knows, and much more.
For some, a devotion may be their only Bible for the day, so learn how to touch hearts, teach His Word and change lives.
Writing to a Post-Christian World, by Ann Tatlock
Is our nation on a downward spiral? Can the corrosion of our culture be reversed? Or are we experiencing the end of God’s blessing due to our depravity? For the past 50 years our culture has undergone a monumental shift as the media has pulled people into a whole new way of thinking. Gone is the idea that absolutes exist. Instead our leaders and educators preach a belief that everything is relative….including truth. How do we respond to such muddled thinking? How do we present the one true Truth to a culture that worships diversity of thought and morals? In this concise, easy-to-read book, Ann Tatlock answers these questions and more:
* What is a biblical worldview?
* What is The Great Literary Conversation?
* How has revisionism affected the Church?
* How has relativism affected our culture?
* What is postmodern literature?
* What is our greatest task as Christian writers?
Take a stand for truth. Take a pen and write.
Praise for Writing to a Post-Christian World
“Ann Tatlock writes and teaches from experience. As an award-winning novelist, she is a practitioner of the artistic skills it takes to share deep messages through enthralling stories. As a guest professor at universities and as a keynote speaker at writers’ conferences, she provides pragmatic advice on logic, creativity, organization, and style that enables developing writers to sharpen their skills as communicators. Here now, in this succinct text, are precise lessons from a master teacher and author.” – Dennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., Director of the Professional Writing Dept., Taylor University
“Ann Tatlock has a gift with words, and she uses that gift in this book to support the creativity of the believer, to bolster us with the truth and help us keep moving forward with our stories.” – Hannah Alexander, Award-winning novelist
“Ann Tatlock’s Writing to a Post-Christian World is an amazingly clear, meaty and readable essay. I was especially touched by her analysis of why Christian fiction can be a powerful call to believe in God, a way to soften hearts, hardened and confused by the world. Well said, Ann!” -Lyn Cote
“For me, not so much because I am (or in my case, am not) seeking direction or purpose as a Christian writer, but because it spoke to me as a reader. A reader who loves word-pictures through illustrations and personal stories. I would probably never pick up an article (much less a book) on the topic of “post-modernism”. Though I am thoroughly enjoying “The Truth Project”, I am not enthused over conversations surrounding words like “relativism”, world-view, post-modern thinking, etc… But after reading Ann’s booklet, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that explained it so vividly to me without boring me out of my mind. I will remember that post-modernism= a culture that “shuns” absolutes. And yes, statements like Oprah’s are nothing more than “wishful thinking”. I loved the “prime meridian” analogy and will use it next time someone tells me that there are no absolutes or that people who live by them are narrow-minded.
“What a charge and commission we have as Christian to speak the truth whether in spoken or written word. An effective communicator always recognizes their audience (and in our case– the post-modern world…made up of unbelievers and sick choirs). We need to read pieces like Ann’s to give us clarification and spur us on to good works!” – Angie Martin
Great things can happen with your freelance writing career. Your lifelong dream of becoming a successful freelance writer can come true. Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Disney never lost sight of his dream to create, and although he was faced with many obstacles, he never gave up. He was once told he “lacked creativity,” but went on to accomplish many great things. As I travel around the country teaching at Writer’s Conferences, I meet many wonderful people. Some of those people are filled with the hope that “one day, maybe I will be published.” Still others, who have found moderate success, are filled with the hope that “one day, maybe I will sell more of what I write.”
How about you? Are you ready to overcome your obstacles and see your freelance writing dreams come true? Well my friend, if you grab the winning formula: Prayer + Attitude + Confidence = Freelance Writing Success; then the sky is the limit!
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